Saturday, 24 May 2014
Thomas Bjorn tees off on the 12th hole during day three   (Getty Images)
Thomas Bjorn tees off on the 12th hole during day three (Getty Images)
Thomas Björn will take a five shot lead into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship after a remarkable birdie run over the back nine at Wentworth Club.

Björn carded six birdies in a row - just two short of the European Tour record - and made another on the 18th to cover the back nine in 30 for the second time in three days.

That left the 43 year old Dane on 15 under par and five shots ahead of two-time winner Luke Donald, with joint halfway leader Shane Lowry a shot behind after a 73.

Rory McIlroy recovered from a double bogey on the opening hole to shoot a 69 and finish eight under par alongside Dutchman Joost Luiten.

Björn had also taken six on the first after heavy rain overnight and into Saturday morning saw tee times moved back three hours, while a bogey on the fifth briefly left him three shots behind Lowry.

However, the former Wentworth resident carded his first birdie of the day on the sixth and then six in a row from the 11th before narrowly missing from five feet on the 17th.

"I'm starting to warm to this place," joked Björn, whose only top-ten finish here was a share of fifth in 1998. "I got off to a really rough start with a lot of loose swings early on but hit a really good shot on ten and started to feel more comfortable.

"I probably drew a little on what I did on Thursday on the back nine, putts started to drop and you get in the zone where things start to go your way.

"I was proud of the way I handled the round and proud of my determination and the way I stayed with my golf. It was a remarkable run of holes."

A 16th European Tour title on Sunday would all but secure Björn’s first Ryder Cup appearance since 2002, but he added: "There are a couple of names on that leaderboard who can't be counted out.

"I have to play some good golf and be smart and aggressive when I can be and keep them at arms' length. If I get off to a bad start it's a wide open tournament."

Donald's flawless 68 contained an eagle on the fourth and vital birdies on the 17th and 18th to keep the former World Number One in the hunt for a third victory in four years.

"It was very important to make those birdies because every time I looked at the leaderboard Thomas had made another one," Donald said. "I did not want him to get too far ahead of me and it was important to be in the last group tomorrow.

"Winning here in 2011 and getting to World Number One was a great feeling and with defending the following year I have so many great memories. To win here three times would be very good but I have a tough day ahead of me because Thomas is playing very good golf."

In contrast to Donald, McIlroy has never enjoyed a good record at Wentworth and missed the cut in each of the last two years. 

The 25 year old, who twice visited sand before thinning his first shot over the green at the first, said: "I was a little disappointed I didn't make a birdie at the last but after the start I had, 69 is a good score.

"I feel like a low round is in me but I don't know if it's going to be good enough. I need to go out and shoot something similar to what Thomas did on the opening day (a course record 62).

"I've had big leads and let them slip, and come from behind and won. There's a lot of ways to win. Eighteen holes of golf is still a long way to go and if the conditions are favourable, then you never know what can happen."

The trans-Atlantic battle to be World Number One will go down to the wire after Sweden's Henrik Stenson recovered from being three over par after ten holes to card a third round of 71.

Stenson, who needs to better Adam Scott's performance in the Crowne Plaza Invitational, goes into the final round in a share of seventh on six under par, while Scott was joint tenth after completing a 66 at Colonial.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MCILROY, RoryNIR18-14
2LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-13
T3BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-12
T3DONALD, LukeENG18-12
T5GALLACHER, StephenSCO18-9
T5DYSON, SimonENG18-9

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